Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh Fall/Winter Edition 2015-16 - page 46

44
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caregivers should consider meeting
with anElder Lawattorney todiscuss
their individual situation. Elder Law
attorneys practice a specialized form
of law that involves representing,
counseling, and providing services
to improve the lives of seniors,
people with disabilities, and their
families. When looking for an
Elder Law attorney to help with
Special Needs Planning, families
should seek someone who has
experience and knowledge working
with families of and individuals with
special needs.
Friends, colleagues, and other
professionals who have engaged
in special needs planning can serve
as a good referral source in finding
an attorney who is knowledgeable
in the special-needs area of estate
planning. In addition, local special
needs organizations can offer
valuable insight into local resources
and professionals that can help with
special needs planning. Oftentimes,
special needs organizations have
worked with professionals and
resources in their community and
are able to easily identify valuable
services and resources.
A compe t en t El de r Law
Attorney should be able to assist
with the following matters: Wills,
Power of Attorney, Living Will,
Guardianship, Special NeedsTrusts
and other estate planning issues.
These documents will help with the
future needs of an individual with
disabilities and will help ensure that
he or she will be eligible for public
benefits.
If a caregiver or family member
plans to leave an inheritance to an
individual with disabilities, they
should consider creating a Third
Party Special Needs Trust. A trust
is a legal arrangement by which
a person or financial institution,
called the “trustee,” holds legal title
and manages money for the benefit
of a person called the “beneficiary.”
AThird Party Special Needs Trust,
if established and administered
correctly, allows a family member
to leave money for the benefit of
an individual with a disability.
The individual remains eligible
for vital government benefits such
as Supplemental Security Income
(SSI) benef its, Medicaid and/
or Waiver Services. Leaving an
individual with special needs an
outright inheritance may result in
a loss of these government benefits.
There can be many challenges
and stress involved with the
future planning process. As you
work through this process, it is
important to remember that you are
taking steps towards ensuring the
future comfort and security of your
loved one, an effort that will be
long remembered and appreciated
by many.
Articlel provided by Rebecca Tyers
Brown, ACHIEVA Family Trust,
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